spencer dresses part two..

After the wonderful feedback I received from my last blog about my spencer dress i thought it was only fair to share my new acquisitions..


Word quickly spread (it is Shetland after all, you never know who sees you at the saleroom, and you have to shout out your last name when you win..) that i had bought my last one. The designer Margaret Stuart phoned me at work and we had a nice chat about the dresses. She told me they were designed for an up market New York department store Lord and Taylor by her sister-in-law Sally Tuffin. She also told me she had found a few more and was I interested in seeing them..


I think we can guess what happened.. I did actually buy three but one has gone to my pal Kate, who shared a picture of hers on her blog last week, hopefully we will see more of it soon.



i think this one is my absolute favourite, the colours are so vivid and bright, even thirty years later. I love the ombre effect of the shading with the colours, it reminds me of the hills and light in Shetland.


the second dress has quite a different colour scheme, but very pretty all the same – it reminds me of chocolate.. specifically Aero chocolate.. haha



I love that although the three I have are all quite different, there is a colour theme running through them. Margaret told me the colourways all had evocative names taken from their inspirations, and I also love that I still work with some of these shades at J&S.. This dress has more of a stronger colour block effect and it has a very dark drown on the top half, it really suits my Mam so I told her she could wear it.

mams dress

I know. I’m so kind.. she said she got lots of compliments on it when she was wearing it. I went to take photos of the dresses on Thursday and I couldn’t find it so I phoned her at work – and she was wearing it – so that’s why the picture of her is a bit dark, I had to take it at night and its getting dark very early in Shetland now, and cold. brrr.


its very addictive taking close ups of the bottom part.. very mesmerising.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these pictures, I’m looking forward to wearing them this winter..


38 thoughts on “spencer dresses part two..

  1. I’m now planning to make my own. I have the spencer top pattern from the Traditional Knitting book, and the rest looks fairly straightforward. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi, yes it’s quite a simple construction so I don’t think it would be too difficult, best of luck and please show me when your finished!! Ella xx

      1. No it’s the Madeline Weston book, the original was called the traditional sweater book, it was reprinted as Country Weekend Knits as well. :) xx

  2. your first purchase was stunning, these are simply glorious! just think now of all the possible colour combinations from the J&S shelves

  3. Stunning. So beautiful. The colour changes are so thoughtful and satisfying. The dresses have found a wonderful home, you must be so proud. Thank you for sharing them. Clutching my traditional sweater book I am about to embark on my own spencer!

  4. OHHHHHHHHHH, the yellow one!!! MUST Have hahaha Gee, I have a Madeline Weston book, do you suppose I have THE one mentioned above? Will dig it out and see..fingers crossed. ella, I am so happy you found and have these wonderful dresses! cheers!!!

  5. Thanks so much, Ella, for your follow-up on the Spencer Dress and the lovely pictures. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a Spencer Dress get-together at next Wool Week? Those who can’t get to Shetland could send our pictures. No matter what, we will all show Margaret and Sally how much we appreciate their lovely classic dress.

  6. Lord & Taylor is one of my favorite stores and I’ve been shopping there for such a long time, I could kick myself for missing these dresses when they were for sale there. They are gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing them with us.

  7. I love your posts about these dresses! The chocolate brown one is my favourite, and it really suits your mom. Thanks to your suggestion when I was in the shop in September I actually own The Traditional Knitting Book. I’m off to check out the pattern for the top, and dream about a Spencer dress hanging in my closet. :-)

  8. I’ve looked through my Weston “Country Weekend Knits” (2008 reprint) book 4 times now and cannot find the Spencer pattern in it. There are two patterns for the Old & New shell pattern (hap & allover sweater), but there is nothing that looks like the Spencer top. I imagine a basic crewneck top pattern will suffice. It will be fun to see what people come up with.

  9. Oh what a lucky girl! I adore all three dresses. And though a knit dress probably wouldn’t suit my shape, that “sunset” colour scheme has me dreaming of a glorious hap shawl…

  10. I was going to say, a pattern for those dresses, or something like it, would sell like hot cakes. I’ve been wanting to do a big cosy scarf in the skirt pattern in stripes ever since Shetland Wool Week. Still haven’t finished my dad’s sweater yet though. I can see why you’d want to photograph them endlessly.

  11. Was nipping through the Toll Clock Centre the other day, and spotted a couple of spencer dresses in the display cart just outside the Olive Tree – have you seen them ?

    1. No but someone else said they’d seen them, Margaret told me she had found a few more and they were going to the Saleroom, I think I have enough now to be going on with! Haha xx

  12. These dresses are gorgeous ! I hope the pattern gets republished. In the meantime I will be happy if I could find a pattern for spencer top on this side of the pond.

  13. Thanks so much for sharing the info on the Spencer dresses. There are quite a few copies of Country Weekend Knits by Ms. Weston available on Amazon. Used as well as new. I ordered one and am hoping the pattern is in there. Did the thumbnail click through and saw something that looked like it!!
    Thanks again, Ella.

    1. I have the 2008 reprint of Weston’s Country Weekend Knits & the Spencer top is not in it. I wonder if there was a British edition of the book that had that pattern in it?

  14. Hi! A very beautiful dress, as I said in the other post, I’d love to knit it. Could I ask in which book the pattern of this dress is published?

    1. Hi Vera! the pattern is not in any book, but there are similar patterns for elements of the dress in the Traditional Sweater book by Madeline Weston which Margaret Stuarts patterns are in. As it was made to sell there is no pattern at the moment. X

  15. Hello, greetings to all from the south coast of England! How could I have missed your lovely blog for so long … I have followed Kate Davies’s now for so long now I just don’t know how I didn’t come across you – maybe it was at a time when I was being very disciplined with myself and making myself not divert off to anything else, though having found you I will have to follow … very willingly. Anyway, I have found you now and it was looking at the Spencer dress that led me here, how great is that?!

    Now, I just don’t have half the skill of any of you so, have any of you worked out a pattern for this fabulous dress … please?

  16. Hiya, just like Saoirse Im wondering if Margaret or yourself has made a pattern for the dress….came to your blog as I was reading Kates again this weekend….simply got that dress back in my mind! Oh and its verra fresh round Aberdeen this week! Def knitted dress weather! Here’s hoping!

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